Lt. Governor Brent Sanford pardons the annual Thanksgiving Turkeys at the State Capitol in Bismarck.

Bismarck, N.D. — The turkeys were gobbling and the cameras were rolling at the North Dakota State Capitol, but someone was notably absent from the annual turkey pardoning; Governor Doug Burgum.

The annual turkey pardoning is a longstanding tradition in the days preceding the Thanksgiving Holiday. While the pardoning ceremony is usually associated with the White House, governors from across the country also partake in the event.

The Flickertail Times reached out to the Governor’s office to inquire why he was missing from the cherished ceremony.

“In addition to his prior engagements, the Governor felt it would be a conflict of interest to pardon a turkey due to his bird-like resemblance,” said a spokesman. “Transparency is one of the Governor’s highest priorities and he felt he’d be sending the wrong message to the citizens of North Dakota by issuing any sort of a pardon to someone (or something) who shares his resemblance. While most associate Governor Burgum with the owl variety of birds, the Governor certainly didn’t want to give folks the idea he was giving preferential treatment to this year’s turkeys, Salt and Pepper.”

Pepper the turkey (left) and Governor Doug Burgum (right) are pictured side-by-side in a comparison. Governor Burgum abstained from pardoning Pepper this year, due to the physical similarities he and the bird share.

While its disappointing to learn that Governor Burgum won’t be pardoning any turkeys soon, Thanksgiving will in the very least provide everyone with the rare opportunity to observe Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford conducting official government duties. Until today’s official pardoning, Lt. Governor Sanford had not been seen in public since the annual Valentine’s Day Card Swap at the State Capitol.

*The Flickertail Times is a satirical (fake news) news blog focusing on all things North Dakotan. Feedback? We’d love to hear it! Send us anything and everything to: